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Parameters - Sfumato

These parameters apply only to selected objects that are Sfumato objects. Sfumato objects are used for creation of photo-like embroidery designs. It is often used to create portraits, landscapes or still-lives. Sfumato object is drawn exactly like the Fill object , but the stitches inside of object are generated in other way. Thread creates meanders of various size to approximate the picture (photo) under the object.

Sfumato Stitch design - vector outlines and stitch fill

Left: design composed of 6 Sfumato vector (outline) objects. Center: finished design filled with stitches. Right: meanders of different shade and density - detail.

Meanders are replaced with plain fill of given angle on the highest density places. Sfumato does not cover whole area of the object with stitches, but it leaves fabric show through stitches on loose places. Therefore, it is important to choose Background Color of Sfumato objects properly, because density of stitches is adjusted according to Background Color and thread colors.

Sfumato object is filled with 1-5 shades of thread. Shades are generated automatically from Basic Color of the Sfumato object or set manually by user. User can switch on and off respective shades and thus control number of colors within single object. Each color (thread shade) has Additional Density and Shade Threshold adjustable parameters.

Sfumato object can have openings like the Fill object. Use the opening tool to add openings to Sfumato object. Also, Sfumato object can have carvings. Unlike the Fill object, carvings on Sfumato are formed by additional stitches and not by needle points pattern. User can adjust width and color of carvings. Carving objects must follow immediately after Sfumato object and its openings.

Parameters of Sfumato object are organized into several tabs of the parameter panel.


Mode combo box at the top of Sfumato parameters panel allows to switch between these working modes:

Sfumato object has much more parameters than other types of objects. It would be very cumbersome to change parameters and then generate stitches to check their effect on the stitches. Therefore, there are preview modes available directly in the parameter panel to make work with Sfumato objects faster.

Another handy mode is the pick color mode. As stitches in the Sfumato objects are generated from photo, it is usefull to bring colors from photo directly to various Sfumato parameters.

Above modes are usefull when accessing parameters via main control panel during the node editing in work area, because all these modes interact with the work area. Pick color mode allows to pick color from picture in the work area. Shades layout preview modes renders respective preview directly on the work area.

Above modes have no effect when accessing parameters via sit-on-top parameters window when work area is not interacting.

Main Settings Tab

Angle defines the angle of plain fills in heavy density areas.

Maximum stitch is a longest running stitch in loose density areas. Longer stitches are replaced with jumps. Long running stitches may not look good, if they cross eyes, mouths or other parts of design. However, too many jumps complicate the sewing process.

Fidelity parameter affects the stitch count and accuracy of Sfumato object. Higher Fidelity means higher stitch count and better accuracy. To reduce stitch count and speed-up the sewing process, use lower fidelity (0-40%) on objects like background, cloths, sky etc.. Higher fidelity (70-80%) is recommended for faces and other areas where accuracy is more important than the stitch count.

Style of loose density areas defines the stitch style or layout of loose stitches. Use it to give object desired texture.

Styles from top to bottom are:

  1. Common Sfumato meanders
  2. Contour stitches (default)
  3. Contour stitches (higher density)
  4. Contour stitches (highest density)

First option, Meanders, produces stitch layout similar to previous Sfumato version, but with less trims and stray stitches.

Default style is Contour stitches, which produces the most efficient stitch layout. The stitches do not follow the contour on all places. Where not applicable, the meanders are used automatically.

Higher and Highest density options allow to achieve more compact coverage. This means than fabric shows through stitches less than with other options.

Color Tab

This tab contains color controls and controls closely related to those colors.

Basic Color . This color is used as a base for threads generation. It is also used for displaying of Sfumato object in Object Inspector and in the work area.

Background is the fabric color. This color is supposed to show through stitches. Density of each thread shade is derived from the Background color.

Thread Shades . Actual colors of threads that fill the Sfumato object are generated automatically from the Basic Color or set manually by user. Automatic shades form a monochrome scale. User-defined scale may contain any color. Click right mouse button on a shade color box to open color mixer window. Individual shades can be turned OFF if you wish to use lower number of colors within the Sfumato objects. This usefull for small size objects.

Additional Density . Sfumato automatically adjusts density of all parts of the objects. However, user may want to increase or decrease density of particular color within object.

Shade Threshold . Sfumato automatically splits whole range of color tones within object into 5 thread shades. User can adjust the shade thresholds with these parameters.

Contrast affects the colors of automatically generated threads. When doing portrait, use lower contrast on child or woman face to achieve softer thread shades.

Mask Tab

Some photos may contain many small areas of various colors (flowers on the meadow, for example) and it is hard to trace each of them as a separate Sfumato object. In such case, use Color Mask to fill only part of object with stitches:

Make one large Sfumato object.

Select mask color count .

Pick respective mask colors from image in the Work Area with use of the Pick Tool .

Adjust range of the masks. Use preview mode to check layout of masks .

Activate just one mask (green meadow, for example) and adjust rest of Sfumato parameters.

Close parameters window and generate stitches for the sfumato object.

Copy and paste this Sfumato object and change active mask and color selection so that the rest of the object is stitched (red flowers, for example).

Density Tab

Stitch Spacing of high density areas . Set this value according to weight of your thread in order to achieve full covering on the most dense places, where plain fill is used instead of loose meanders. Usual plain fill spacing values are 0.35 - 0.45 mm.

Overall density of low density areas . This scroll track allows user to make loose areas of design even loosier or heavier.

Overall density of medium density areas . This scroll track allows user to make heavy areas of design loosier or even heavier.

Carving Tab

Carvings are lines or curves that are drawn after the Sfumato object. They can be used to emphasize edges in the Sfumato object. User can adjust two carving parameters:

Carvings Color . Carvings may be only of one of the thread shades color. Even if thread shade is disabled, carvings may be of this color.

Carvings width . Use this parameters to make carvings bolder. Carvings wider than 0.2 mm are composed of short lines placed at the same angle as plain fill in Sfumato object.

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